October 17, 2018

Caring for Creation: October Green Tip

Should I Reheat My Home or Keep it Warm?


Hey Mr. Green,

In your book, Hey Mr. Green, you say that it takes more energy to maintain a constant temperature at home than to lower the heat at night and crank it back up in the morning. My neighbor claims that keeping a constant warm temperature is better because reheating takes more energy. What’s the truth?

I stand by all of my book’s myriad words of wisdom—

But to your question: Maintain a constant indoor temperature and you’re heating not just your home but also the great outdoors. Heat is constantly lost, especially through doors and windows; the warmer it remains inside, the more heat escapes. It’s a law of thermodynamics, the same principle that makes tank water heaters less efficient than on-demand models.

This is why it takes less energy to reheat a house in a short time than to keep it warm all the time, and why energy-conservation organizations like the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimate a 2% savings on heating bills for each degree you lower the thermostat for eight hours at a time.

(Mr. Green is Bob Schildgen – a columnist for Sierra Magazine and has a book titled “Hey Mr. Green” published in 2008)



Earth Day – Every Day

You Can Make a Difference!

Caring for Creation: September Green Tip

September’s Green Tip

Waste-free Lunches


It has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.

Understanding the Problem

The Typical Lunch:

If you walk around at lunchtime and take a good look at the lunches our children bring to school, here’s what the typical lunch will look like:

  • sandwiches in disposable plastic bags
  • fruits and vegetables in plastic bags
  • prepackaged chips, cookies, fruit bars, granola bars, cheeses, and fruit leathers
  • single-use yogurts, applesauces, and puddings
  • crackers, pretzels, chips, and other snack foods sealed in plastic bags
  • disposable juice boxes, juice pouches, juice cans, water bottles, and milk cartons
  • plastic forks and spoons
  • paper napkins
  • reusable lunchboxes and disposable paper and plastic bags

A Waste-free Lunch:

  • sandwiches and other main dishes, fresh fruits and, fresh vegetables, and treats in a reusable lunch container or containers
  • cloth napkins
  • stainless-steel forks and spoons
  • reusable drink containers
  • reusable lunchboxes

In this scenario very little trash is generated because foods are bought in bulk or in larger packages. The packaging is left at home for reuse or recycling. Food waste also decreases because with a reusable lunch container, children can re-pack uneaten food instead of dumping it, packaging and all, into the school trash can.


Earth Day – Every Day

You Can Make a Difference!